The Phillies aren’t good. They’re 70-88 this year, and over the last five years — the five years since they traded for Cliff Lee and won 102 games in 2011 — they’re 360-467. They are bad. They’re ahead of us in the standings this year, but they’re closing out the year by getting swept by us, and that’s a very gratifying way to close out the year. Our boys may be bums, but as long as they’re better than Philly, there’s at least a bit of pride salvaged.
So tonight, Josh Collmenter had another remarkably effective night. He’s had three starts in a Braves uniform, and they’ve all been good: 5 IP, 2 ER; 7 IP, 2 ER; 7 IP, 1 ER, with a combined 16 strikeouts and 5 walks. I don’t get it — he’s 30, has an 85-mile an hour fastball, and was literally released outright by the Diamondbacks in August after spending his entire pro career in that organization. Then he spent a month in the minors with the Cubs, who then released him, and then he came here.
TD may be right: he’s the second or third best starter we have right now. And as welcome as the second-half offensive resurgence has been, that’s clearly the biggest concern for the Johns in the front office.
But the offense has been legitimately nice. Dansby Swanson hit a homer; he’s now hitting .300/.353/.442. And then there was the eighth inning. Dansby got a leadoff walk. Kemp doubled him home. Nick Markakis got an intentional walk, Anthony Recker got himself hit by a pitch, Jace Peterson hit an RBI single, and Rio Ruiz got a two-run single. That four-run inning broke the Phillies’ backs.
By the way, Kemp before the trade: .262/.285/.489
After the trade: .289/.343/.525
Getting out of Petco really helps.
Mauricio Cabrera came on in the top of the eighth with Freddy Galvis on first, a 1-1 tie score, and two outs, and I wouldn’t have thought that would have been the situation for a rookie with a massive control problem. He came on, threw two straight balls to Caleb Joseph, and Galvis stole second. At that point, he threw a slider for a strike, buried another slider in the dirt and got his man to swing and miss, and then he threw a high 99-mile an hour fastball that Joseph fouled straight back.
Finally, he threw a 99-mile an hour fastball more or less down the middle, and Joseph hit it pretty well, but right to Mallex Smith in left, and the inning was over. He didn’t blow him away on three straight pitches, but if anything, he did something even more gratifying to see: he got into a tricky situation, threw strikes, and something good happened. I like this kid a lot.